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From left: Pendleton Heights’ Jamie Hubble (10), Krosley Ogden, Kinzie Davis, Jessica Cates and Alyssa Hathcoat huddle before the start of Tuesday’s regional game at Cathedral. Pendleton Heights has won 21 straight games.

The Pendleton Heights softball team doesn’t plan to let anything detour them from the goal of winning two semistate softball game this weekend.

For instance:

No hotel rooms in Bedford due to a slo-pitch softball tournament?

“We’re going down Saturday morning in a chartered bus,” said PH coach Rob Davis. “It will be two hours in air conditioning and comfort. They’ll ride in style and they will get a good night’s sleep in their own bed.”

How about 90-plus degree weather and high humidity forecast for the day?

“Bring it on, we’ll be ready,” said first baseman Kinzie Davis. “We won’t think about the weather.”

“I will be so focused on the game, I won’t even notice it until the game is over,” said third baseman Alyssa Hathcoat.

Then there’s the unknown opponent — Castle (21-9) in the 11 a.m. game and then either Columbus North or Avon in the title game.

“I think it’s an advantage not to know too much about the other team,” Kinzie Davis said. “I’d rather not know. Our mindset is we’re going to win no matter who we’re up against.”

No matter what opponent they face, that foe is usually in an early hole against the Arabians.

Throughout the tournament, PH has jumped on the scoreboard in the opening inning.

In all four sectional and regional games, the Arabians have scored 12 runs for an average of 3.0 runs per first inning.

“That has a huge impact on the game,” said Hathcoat. “It sets the tone. It shows we’re here to play.”

The Arabians have been on a roll. After losing the championship game of the Madison County Tournament to Madison-Grant, the Arabians lost three of the next four. At that point, the batting order changed. Shortstop Krosley Ogden was elevated from the No. 2 spot to leadoff.

“After that losing streak, I decided to make the change,” said Rob Davis. “We haven’t lost since I made the change so I haven’t gone back.”

Ogden is hitting .447 with all but two of her 42 hits singles. Caitlynn McCord is at .414 and is hitting behind Ogden. “McCord gives me more options hitting there,” said coach Davis. “She’s got a little more power. Those are my two sparkplugs.”

The Arabians are hitting .376 as a team, scoring 228 runs while holding the opposition to 57 runs.

A big part of the reason why their foes are averaging 1.67 runs per contest is that pitcher Jessica Cates has a 1.00 earned run average with 207 strikeouts in a little over 125 innings. She has a 16-3 record and has walked only 1.6 batters per game. There are often big stretches of a game where the opponent seldom makes contact with the baseball.

“Sometimes I’m surprised when the ball gets hit,” said Hathcoat. “Sometimes I kid Jess and tell her, ‘Let them hit a couple to me.’ In the Cathedral game (regional Tuesday), I got a couple of popouts. She told me that was for me.”

Kinzie Davis doesn’t think it matters how often the ball gets hit. “We’re still ready. Our hearts are always pounding hard,” she said. “We’re ready for the ball to be hit to us.”

Part of the pitching success can also be attributed to catcher Sierra Lewis. “She doesn’t get as much credit as she deserves,” said Davis. “She’s calling all of the pitches. If Jess gets a pitch that she doesn’t like, she’ll shake it off. Sierra’s been doing it all year long.”

The Castle Knights will be the first test Saturday for the Arabians.

“They don’t have a lot of power,” said Rob Davis. “They’ve only hit a couple of home runs all years as a team (PH has nine). Defensively they are pretty solid. Their pitching isn’t as fast as we’re used to. They use two pitchers. About the third or fourth inning they’ll bring in another pitcher who throws a drop ball.”

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